Long Time, Long Year, No Seeum!!! Has been a Roller Coaster— Helpful Post to Many— Been There

The Role of Psychosocial Factors in CRPS

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating pain condition that is still relatively poorly understood by the medical community. The term “complex regional pain syndromes” came into use in 1995 and currently includes two major types: CRPS type 1 (formerly called “reflex sympathetic dystrophy”) and CRPS type 2 (formerly called “causalgia”). The hallmark clinical feature of CRPS is pain that is disproportionate to what would normally be expected in relation to a particular injury or insult. Although various criteria have been developed for the clinical diagnosis of CRPS, most experts agree that pain, swelling, color change, and decreased mobility of the affected limb are the most relevant diagnostic parameters. In general, treatment goals for CRPS include the relief of pain, which may be accomplished with medications or nerve blocks, and physical therapy and rehabilitation to improve function and quality of life.

Since the pathophysiology of CRPS is still not well understood, some doctors have long suspected that patients with CPRS may be predisposed to developing the condition due to underlying psychosocial factors. In recent years, there has been a considerable amount of research to determine whether CRPS patients may have predisposing personality or psychological traits that may make them more susceptible to developing this disorder. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology Medical Settings examined the role of psychosocial factors in people with CRPS. After a detailed review of the relevant published medical literature, the authors of this study arrived at the following two major conclusions:

  1. Patients      with CRPS do not appear to have any predisposing psychological or      personality traits that would make them more susceptible to developing      CRPS.
  2. Research,      however, clearly supports the fact that CRPS results in serious      psychological sequelae such as depression, anxiety, impaired quality of      life, and functional/occupational disability for a subset of patients.

The clinical implications of these research findings are significant in terms of the approach for the management of patients with CRPS. The research strongly suggests that a multidisciplinary approach is critical for understanding and treating CRPS patients. Healthcare providers involved in the management of people with CRPS must develop a treatment plan whose goals include the dual objectives of addressing both the physical/medical aspects of the condition as well as the resulting psychological effects that may include depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life. Moreover, early recognition and intervention is crucial for preventing both long-term physical and psychological complications of CRPS.

Reference: A review of psychosocial factors in complex regional pain   syndrome. Journal of Clinical Psychology Medical Settings. Volume 20,   pp. 247-254, 2013.

About Medifocus

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, you need the most current and reliable information from trustworthy sources so that you can make the best informed decisions regarding your treatment.

The Medifocus Guidebook on Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, quickly and effectively answers all of your most important questions about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, including:

  • What      are the known causes for the condition?
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  • Which      medical tests are necessary to establish an accurate diagnosis for      Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?
  • What      are the most common “first-line” standard treatments      recommended?
  • What      are the treatment options if the standard treatments are not      effective?
  • Are      there any new treatments currently being evaluated in clinical      trials?
  • Where      can I find doctors, hospitals, and medical centers with      specialized knowledge and clinical expertise in the management of Reflex      Sympathetic Dystrophy?

Since 1996, Medifocus has established a solid reputation for providing consumers with timely, quality medical information in the form of comprehensive patient-oriented Guidebooks. The Medifocus management team and staff are dedicated to providing patients and their families with the most up-to-date and clinically important information about specific diseases and conditions. The Medifocus Guidebook on Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is just one example of the quality information that is produced by our dedicated research team. To view the complete list of Guidebooks that we publish for 35 separate diseases and conditions, please visit our website at www.medifocus.com.


Elliot Jacob, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President of Content
Medifocus.com, Inc.

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One Response to Long Time, Long Year, No Seeum!!! Has been a Roller Coaster— Helpful Post to Many— Been There

  1. pollycm says:

    This is so clear and helpful. I plan to look up some of the links. Thank you for this helpful blog!

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